Wednesday 15 March 2017

Family: Celebrating My Baka's

I meant to have this post ready for March 8th, International Women's Day, but it didn't come together the way I envisioned it so I decided to postpone it for the moment.  Though I have many women to celebrate in my life, today I am choosing to highlight  two of my role models, my grandmas.  I feel immense gratitude to have these ladies in my life and to have my girls get to know them.  My girls are surrounded by family but to have two great-grandma's is a special gift.

March 9th, Celebrating International Women's Day

Both of my grandmas were both a big part of my childhood and I spent a great deal of time with each of them.  Baka Zlata lived just down the street from where I grew up and her house was always open to us.  We came and went as we pleased (or at least that's how I remember it).  She had a large yard that we utilized to play in and my grandma always had treats for us.  She  always wore this special necklace around her neck, that I would touch/play with and ask if I could have when she died.  The morning we fled our city, my grandma took that necklace off of her neck and put it around mine.  We were not sure if our paths would ever cross again.   She wanted me to have it as a memory and a keepsake and that flashback always bring tears to my eyes. Thankfully  my grandparents eventually also made it to Canada and we were blessed with more years to spend together. My grandma refused to take that necklace back and so I continue to wear it on a regular basis.  Years later when Anya was 4 or 5, she would  often touch the necklace  gently and ask me if she could have it when she grows up. 

My grandma was here to welcome each of my little girls when they were born.  She lives only a few blocks from our home and the girls love her dearly.  They love having an "old baka" who can still play with them.  Baka Zlata has  even babysat for us on occasion and I've had the privilege to learn some Bosnian dishes from her in recent years.   She bakes her special cakes for each of our birthdays and we all look forward to getting "our" own specialty cake each year.

Baka Zlata & Halie 2007

Baka Zlata & Anya 2009

Baka Zlata teaching me to make baklava

My dad, me, my mom & baka


Now,  baka Rada and I were pretty inseparable when I was little.  She lived in our city and I went everywhere with her.  My grandpa died when I was young, around the age of 2, and so I spent a great deal of time with her.  She was a school teacher and when I refused to go to daycare, my grandma would take me along to school with her.  I would sit alongside her students and get spoiled.  I am pretty sure this is where the initial seed was planted that I wanted to be a teacher.  I watched my grandma not only inspire children within the walls of the classroom but their families as they would stop by her home after school and for years to come.  My grandma was doing "family engagement" decades before I studied it and became passionate about it.

As mentioned I was never far behind her.  As a child, I followed her out to her country home, nothing fancy but so much open space.  I think that's where I developed my love for the outdoors and being in nature.  About five years ago, Logan and I decided to begin camping with the kids, I was  a little unsure, but found my love for this simple lifestyle resurfacing quickly.   I see myself instilling that love of a simple life, a slower pace,  the outdoors, and an appreciation for nature, in my own girls.


Recently my grandma, after 23 years apart, was finally able to come to Canada to join our family.  She now lives in the same building as my baka Zlata!  My girls have welcomed her into their lives with open hearts, open arms and so much love.  They communicate in various ways, gestures, basic English/Bosnian vocabulary, and of course help from us.

Baka Rada & Halie, Doboj, BiH, 2008

Me, Anya, Halie & Baka Rada, Doboj, BiH, 2010

Baka Rada and I

Christmas Eve 2016


My girls are so lucky to have these two incredible women as part of their lives.  They will leave a mark on them and they will shape who they become as adults.   I can't imagine better role models for them  my girls and a better way to teach them about cross-generational family connections. 

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